book review

Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History

Thumbs up for Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson. Science/nature.

It showed up as five stars on the Goodreads feed of someone I know, and I had just happened, the day before, to see a copy lounging around at the bookstore where I work. I was in the mood for nonfiction, so it was a happy confluence of events.… >> Read more

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Thumbs up for SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Science/nature.

Okay, okay, pop statistics books are a weakness of mine. I admit it. But Freakonomics was just so dang much fun. And so was this one. Though it should all be taken with a grain of salt – it is statistics, right?… >> Read more

After You with the Pistol

Thumbs up for After You With the Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli. Suspense.

As usual, I had no intention of starting a new book, since I was in the middle of several others; but I was out and about and finished browsing the bookstore my boyfriend and I were in before he did, so I picked a random, interesting-looking book off the display to examine while I waited.… >> Read more

Double Negative: A Novel

Thumbs up for Double Negative by David Carkeet. Mystery.

I’d had this on my “to-find” list for a while because it was a mystery taking place among a group of linguists, and I love linguistics. It was not the best mystery I’ve ever read, but it was readable, well-characterized, moved along nicely, and had occasional flashes of great wit that made up for it being merely “readable.” Also, I couldn’t figure out who did it, and that’s always nice.… >> Read more

The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease

Thumbs up for The Cholesterol Myth by Uffe Ravnskov, MD. Science/nature.

Perhaps the fact that my dad gave me a copy of How to Lie With Statistics at a tender age explains why I laughed when reading this book, which is definitely not funny. While technically about cholesterol, it is in fact a brilliant explication of all the ways people lie with statistics.… >> Read more

Miss Manners' Guide to Rearing Perfect Children

Thumbs up to Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children by Judith Martin. Humor/Etiquette.

It is no closely held secret that I do not like children enough to ever have one myself. I do, however, like Miss Manners – very much indeed. She is that special combination of wise and hilarious. Her classic work, Miss Manners’ Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, is a staple of my bookshelf; and even if I do not live up to it, at least her wit makes me bellylaugh when I am down.… >> Read more

Everyday Life in Ancient Rome

Thumbs up for Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Lionel Casson. History.

It takes real skill to write a work of nonfiction that glides by as rapidly as a good novel; Casson has accomplished that. If you want to get a sense of what it would be like to live in Roman times, this book is a good place to start – easy to read, yet detailed and evocative.… >> Read more